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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
 
FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

New Luxury Hotels Opening in 2012: Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Azerbaijan

April 19, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We at Five Star Alliance are all about the best and most luxurious hotels. We certainly keep up with the happenings in the luxury travel world and take pride in bringing our clients the latest luxury travel news. Keep up with our newest blog series where we’ll be featuring luxury hotels opening in 2012 to stay on top of the trends and make your reservations at the newest hotspots.

The Four Seasons Hotel Baku is opening mid-2012, and they are currently accepting reservations for arrivals from June 15th, 2012! Located in Azerbaijan’s capital on the Caspian Sea, the Four Seasons presents a beautiful luxury hotel on the waterfront promenade, just steps from the Old City. Its 142 classic yet modern guest rooms and 29 luxurious suites almost all open to a balcony with stunning views of the city or of the Caspian Sea. Explore the city of Baku, swim in the glass-roofed atrium, or relax in the penthouse spa. Be sure to visit this up-and-coming area and be one of the first to experience everything the Four Seasons Hotel Baku has to offer!


Little Italy: The Venetian Las Vegas

April 6, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Las Vegas is one of the few cities in the world where the ethnic districts are not marked out by a cultural difference in the food or architecture, but rather wholly created by casino hotels. The Venetian Las Vegas has carved out its own special place in Vegas for the other city that starts with V and has quite a bit more of a storied history to it.  The Venice on the strip offers a facsimile of the canaled streets, narrow buildings, and thousands of years of Italian history that come with the real thing. While you might not see the authentic purveyors of Murano glass in this Venice, you will dine on amazing italian food while staying in any of their all-suite rooms.  The grand canal shoppes are practically a mall in and of themselves, but with all the charm of old Italian streets, with over 80 international boutiques to choose from.

19 restaurants feature in the Venetian, with an unprecedented six James-Beard-award-winning chefs from Emeril Lagasse to Wolfgang Puck. Madame Tussauds' famous wax museum is a part of the resort, as is the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum for those who prefer their art to be a little less malleable.  It's hard to call anything an authentic Las Vegas museum, when so much is built upon the pageant of mimicry, but it is certain that no one does that better than, or on the same scale as, the Venetian Las Vegas.


As a Lhasa Resort: Stay at the St Regis in Tibet

April 4, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The St. Regis Lhasa Resort is a rare chance to experience the wonders of one of the traditional spiritual regions in the world.  Nestled in the mountains of Tibet, the Lhasa Resort stands on the roof of the world, granting you a perspective on life you have never before seen. Of course, that may just be due to the lightheadedness from a low oxygen count, but either way, it seems incredibly revelatory.

The property itself is gorgeous, merging the traditional beauty of Tibetan forms with modern architectural feats to create a mixture of the local with the international, bringing you into its private world.  Iridium, the on-site spa, soothes the world-weary traveler using thousands of years of accumulated physical and spiritual knowledge.  Its 162 rooms and villas are individual tailored to your experience by the St. Regis butler, who is happy to help you design the perfect stay to surpass your own expectations.  And any hotel with a tea room is a winner in my book.  Check out the St Regis Lhasa Resort for a truly wonderful stay at the heart of a spiritual movement. 


Hapuna Matata: A Beach Hotel with the Best Beaches

April 3, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel: It means no worries for the rest of your days.  At least while you're there. Which probably means that if you stay there, you'll end up extending your vacation indefinitely until you forget to return home, abandoning life as you know it to sit on a Hawaiian beach, relaxing to the soft sounds of waves lapping at your ankles as the wind ruffles your thematically appropriate tropical shirt.  That sounds pretty good actually.  Maybe we should all take a little more vacation. I know when I do, my next one will be to the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

On the Kohala Coast, the Hapuna Beach Hotel shares 1,839 acres of beachfront property with the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, another gorgeous five-star property.  With that much space, you're practically lost in the wilderness. The rooms and property itself are wonderful, modern and understated, allowing the natural beauty of the surroundings to shine through and carry the experience of the true escape.  The Hapuna Beach Hotel is the perfect Hawaiian getaway.


Hotels with an Edge: Burj Al Arab in Dubai

April 3, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

In today’s competitive world, everyone needs a way to stand out from the crowd. Luxury hotels certainly are no different and are always looking for ways to outshine their competitors and attract more visitors. We understand that our travelers look for the best of the best, and we would like to introduce you to our blog series, Hotels with an Edge. We’ll be highlighting and featuring a few hotels we feel truly stand out and offer their guests more than is expected. Be sure to check in with us to explore various hotels that deserve recognition for their supreme levels of luxury.

Today’s featured hotel is the Burj Al Arab located in Dubai. This luxury hotel has received a significant amount of recognition and has quickly become one of the most famous luxury hotels and one of the most photographed structures in the world. Its unique architectural design has caught the eyes of travelers, making it easily distinguished from all other hotel properties. It is designed to resemble a wafting sail; this all-suite luxury hotel soars 321 meters and dominates the Dubai skyline. It is illuminated at night by choreographed lighting representing water and fire, and it has a private beachfront, opportunities to embark on a desert safari, and some rooms offering phenomenal views of the Arabian Sea.

Explore this luxury hotel and make your reservations here! Be sure to keep up with our blog series for a little inspiration on where to stay next!


Capital Braggadocio: Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa

April 2, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Unless you're a professional spelunker, a cave probably isn't something you see every day, although sometimes I do think my cubicle feels like one. But if you're the kind of guy who's got a nice corner office and a fulltime assistant just to get coffee for you, then yours probably feels a bit more like the Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa. Nestled into the jagged landscape of the Cappadocia region of Anatolia, known for its extensive system of caves, this resort is the perfect offbeat destination.  

Combining the Turkish spa tradition with modern techniques, you'll bathe in the natural healing powers of an area that dates back to 4,000 BC, when people first began to hew their monasteries directly from the rock formations.  With only 79 rooms, it's the perfect intimate getaway, an escape from the banal normality to a place exotic and alive, so natural as to be formed from the very earth itself.  I love the Cappadocia Cave Resort for its innovative adaptation of one of the most historic regions on Earth to the modern luxuries we all hold so dear. Check out the Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa. It's a luxury you shouldn't take for granite.

 


A Boutique Critique: Relais Christine

March 30, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

I have a special place in my heart for tiny boutique hotels. It may be a little smaller than some of the other chambers, and there aren't enough spots for everybody, but that just makes the few who do make their way into my good graces all the more special. I can give each and every one the loving care and attention they deserve. And thus began my new segment on boutique hotels that I just adore. 

Today we turn our attention to the Relais Christine, a beautiful manor home in the heart of Paris.  Within easy walking distance of both the Louvre and Notre Dame, the hotel is located in the intellectual and cultural heart of Paris.  The perfect destination from which to begin your exploration of the city, Relais Christine is welcoming and distinctly Parisian.  And you can bring your favorite smaller member of the family along since canines and felines are allowed, and it's decidedly kid-friendly as well.  Explore the underground caves of Champagne Pommery's for a lovely winery tour or take a dinner cruise on the seine for one of the most romantic experiences of your life.  Relais Christine is a lovely place to sit back, relax, and take in the site's of possibly Europe's most storied city and from the comfort of a boutique hotel that keeps you secluded from the reams of tourists packing in to other, larger places to have a less unique experience.  Learn more about the Relais Christine here.


Go in My Stead: The Umstead Hotel and Spa

March 27, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Spas are a funny thing. It's actually amazing to think that we live in a world full of all the modern luxuries, and yet we have to pay to escape to a simpler, more relaxed experience.  The spa is just that, too, quintessentially an escape, retreating inward to recharge the mind and the body during a moment's respite from the bustle of modern life. But, the fact remains, many of us are in desparate need of that retreat, and if you're looking to get away from everything, there's no better destination than the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC. 

The hotel itself is gorgeous, was built in 2007, and features 228 oversized luxury guest rooms with all the modern amenities: flat screen TVs, Rivolta Italian linens, and many with balconies overlooking the natural flora.  World-class dining and a great respect for the local culture accent the property, with local artists featuring prominently and the down-home hospitality a guarantee.  

The real crowning jewel of the hotel is the spa.  The two-story building adjacent to the property offers ten treatment rooms where you can find the perfect personalized relaxation technique to wash the stress out of your body.  A meditation courtyard, whirlpools, and a steam room offer alternative ways to rejuvenate and recharge and the naturally lit interior spaces soothe the eyes as much as they do your soul.  The Umstead Hotel & Spa really is a wonderful place ot slough off your East Coast woes and embrace the healing powers of a day all to yourself.


Taj Lake Palace Gets Twitter Accolades

March 26, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The Taj Lake Palace has long been in our category of super luxury, and it's certainly one of the most beautiful hotels in our collection.  And now, it's getting some celebrity recognition, thanks to hotshot designer Diane von Furstenberg.  She recently stayed at the hotel and declared it possibly the 'best hotel in the world.'  A woman with an eye for fashion, her approval certainly counts a little more than the average bear's.  While the superlative might be a bit hyperbolic and a few other hotels give it a run for its money, I can't imagine experiencing anything less than the sublime at the Taj Lake Palace.  

The white marble palace seems to be suspended above the waters of the surrounding lake, where the Maharana lived and entertained at his summer palace.  Ceremonial barges and private dinner-pontoons promise to whisk you away to a land of enchantment, and the breathtaking gardens and lily ponds are the perfect setting for romance.  If you can't trust me, then take the word of Diane von Furstenberg, and stay at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur.

Via HotelChatter.


Nothing Evil about the Villingili Resort and Spa Maldives

March 20, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The Maldives are well-known for being one of the few places in the world you can find overwater bungalows, largely because the water is calm and pristine enough to support the fragile construction they require.  But in the land of floating villas, the Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa Maldives is looking to make a name for itself in another way.  Rather than send their villas out into the water, they've taken to the foliage, their tree house villas nestled in the beachfront palm fronds that every child learns to draw at the age of 5 as foreshadowing of their future desire to stay at a place like this.  

The resort plays home to all the features that the luxury traveler has come to expect.  Khazaanaaga, a divided, on-site restaurants give you options from the South China Sea, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean, and Javvu gives you the more Western choice and cafe-style dining during the day.  CHI, the Spa at Shangri-La offers every treatment you could ever want while relaxing on a sandy beachfront and is inspired by traditional Chinese and Himalayan spiritual and physical wellness.  A children's adventure zone, two tennis courts, and an Eco centre that allows you to explore the local flora and fauna even after you've come back from any of 25 dive sites, including a British shipwreck.  The Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa is just about everything I'm looking for in a beachfront property.